Choice Style Guide: Names & Terms

NAMES AND TERMS (Chicago, ch. 8)

Consult Chicago regarding titles of works, personal names, titles and offices, place-names, organizational names, and names that may be relevant to specific fields of study, such as history, science, religion, government, etc.

Arabic names: Surnames of Arabic origin (which are strictly surnames rather than family names) are often prefixed by such elements as Abu, Abd, ibn, al-, or el- (with hyphen). Since these are integral parts of a name, just as Mc or Fitz are parts of certain English names, they should not be dropped when the surname is used alone. There continues to be much inconsistency in the rendering of Arabic names in the media, even in frequently used proper names such as al Qaeda / al-Qaida.


Bahr al-Safi

Yasir Arafat

Salman Rushdie

Osama bin Laden

Muhammad (the Prophet)

Muhammad Ali (the boxer)

Palestine Liberation Organization (not Palestinian)

Qur'an, Qur'anic (or Koran, Koranic)

Aziz ibn Saud, or Ibn Saud


al Qaeda or al-Qaida

Harun al-Rashid, or Harun

Al Fatah (drop the al when an English article is used, e.g., the Fatah statement)

Art: Titles of photographs, works of art, and of art exhibitions are italicized. "Catalogue" ends in -ue in "exhibition catalogue" and "catalogue raisonné." This is an exception to the standard spelling of "catalog."

Awards: Capitalize the names Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship (but not Guggenheim grant).

Business terminology: Terms used to describe various business entities are not necessarily interchangeable.

business: a generic term signifying virtually any commercial, industrial, or trade enterprise engaged in as a means of livelihood

company: a broad term signifying an association of persons carrying on a commercial, industrial, or trade enterprise or business; generally, an entity that can own property and sue or be sued in its own name, thus also possibly a general partnership, a limited partnership, or a corporation

corporation: a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person and endowed by law with the capacity of succession : an entity recognized by law as constituted by one or more persons and as having various rights and duties together with the capacity of succession (e.g., Wal-Mart Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, Citigroup, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Halliburton)

firm: a business partnership of two or more persons not recognized as a legal entity distinct from the members composing it, often no more than a company that is closely identified with

one or a number of individuals who operate it, regardless of the precise form of business organization, and very often a family business (e.g., the law firms of Baker & McKenzie, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, Fulbright & Jaworski; RNL architectural firm, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering)

Computer terms: Capitalize (but do not italicize) the proper names of hardware, software, networks, devices, systems, and languages. Capitalization should correspond to that displayed by the software or device.

Cap the initialisms used for file extensions.

Internet Explorer









Ethnic groups: Do not hyphenate two-word names for various groups of people even if they are used as adjectives. Note the male/female versions of Latino/a, Chicano/a. The gender neutral term Latinx may be used at the reviewer's discretion.

African American culture

Asian American poets

Exhibitions and events: Names of exhibitions and events are capitalized. Titles of art exhibitions are italicized. Substantive conference names are enclosed in quotes.

The book was published in conjunction with the exhibition Ansel Adams at 100.

… the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, commonly known as the Chicago World's Fair, …

The "Sharia in America: Principles and Prospects" symposium will take place in August.

Miscellaneous proper names:

Burma or Myanmar? "Myanmar" has gained widespread, though not exclusive, use. Many publications acknowledge the traditional name in parentheses: Myanmar (also known as Burma) or (formerly known as Burma). The former is recommended.

Kraków or Cracow, per MW

Nobel Prize, Nobel Prizes: Capitalize prize when mentioned with Nobel, even without a category mentioned; do not cap when not linked with the word Nobel. Also cap in e.g., Nobel Prize winner, Nobel Prize-winning physiologist. The six prizes established under the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will are:

Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Nobel Prize in Literature

Nobel Prize in Physics

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel

Scientific names of plants and animals:

phylum, class, order, and family names—capitalize

genus names—capitalize and italicize

species, subspecies, and variety names—lowercase and italicize

Ships, trains, aircraft, and spacecraft: Capitalize and italicize the names of specific ships and other vessels, but not SS, USS, HMS, etc., preceding the names. Do not italicize the names of makes and classes of cars, trains, aircraft, or space programs. Boats differentiated by a number usually take a roman numeral. Spacecraft take an arabic numeral.

Project Apollo

Apollo 13

USS New York

Boeing 747

Trademarks: A trademark is a legally protected brand, symbol, or word used by a manufacturer or dealer. Capitalize a brand name/trademark. Use a generic equivalent unless a trademark name (i.e., a brand name) is essential.



Major League Baseball


The Gallup Poll






Chicago notes that variations in the general principles below are based on context and usage, and are "not always logical."

Compass points and terms derived from them are lower-cased if they simply indicate direction or location.

an eastward move

the southwest of France

a northern climate

traveled west

Regional terms (often based on points of the compass) that are accepted as proper names but do not normally appear on maps are usually capitalized. Adjectives and nouns derived from them are usually lower-cased.

the East (world), Eastern/er (context of world culture, religion, etc.)

the East (US), East Coast, eastern/er (US), eastern seaboard

the Midwest (US), midwestern, a midwesterner

the North (US), northern, a northerner; but Northern, a Northerner in Civil War contexts

the South (US), southern, a southerner; but Southern, a Southerner in Civil War contexts

the West (world), Western culture, Western world, Westerner

the West (US), western, westerner, western seaboard, West Coast, Western movie/novel, spaghetti Western, country and western, Western liturgies

Eastern/Western Europe only in context of post-WW II Soviet Europe

Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere